Who doesn’t love to munch on a chocolate chip cookie or a blueberry cake? Cookies, cakes, muffins, waffles and crackers are perhaps few of those heavenly items we love to snack on. But how effective are they if you are on a weight-loss programme? Do they cater to the needs of your health if you are diabetic?
Now, you definitely cannot think of gorging on those dull crackers, bland cakes and tasteless cookies sans sugar. Refined sugar does more harm to you than it does any good. So, let us try and explore some of the best known sugar substitutes in baking so that you can relish baked goodies in a tasty yet healthier way.
Fruits, dry fruits and vegetables: Opt for naturally sweet fruits and vegetables like banana, mango, raisins, dates, carrots and beetroot to impart density, moisture, flavour and sweetness to your cakes. They also increase the nutrient value of your baked goodies by adding vitamins, minerals and fibre content to them. Grate the carrots or mash the bananas into the batter and sprinkle the sweet dry fruits liberally so that you get to relish them in every bite possible!
Honey: Honey is very versatile as an ingredient and excellent for baking purpose. Substituting honey for refined sugar is easy. For every one cup of white sugar, use ¾ cup of honey. Honey adds moisture to your recipe. Hence, for every cup of honey, reduce the liquid in your recipe by ½ cup. Add honey to your recipes for a sweet treat filled with nutrients and antioxidants.
Blackstrap molasses: For every cup of sugar in your recipe, use 1 and 1/3 cup of blackstrap molasses. It is extracted as a by-product during the third cycle boiling of sugar cane juice during the sugar-making process. It contains very low quantity of sugar and is high in minerals, vitamins, iron, potassium and calcium. Prepare cookies and spiced breads with molasses for a distinctive and strong flavour. While baking with this alternative to refined sugar, add ½ teaspoon baking soda and lessen the fluid by 1/3 cup.
Apple sauce: Apple sauce is naturally sweet and adds a beautiful flavor, texture and sweetness to your baked goods like cakes, cookies, sweet buns etc. Apple sauce also add a juicy and soft texture and you can easily skip butter too or use less butter or oil.
Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is a great alternative to refined sugar and tastes just as regular refined white sugar. It is filed with nutrients and also has less GI.
Jaggery: Jaggery is naturally very sweet plus gives your baked goods a nice rich flavor. Jaggery is full of vitamins and makes your cakes and cookies dense.
If you are passionate about baking, it is natural for you to try out a variety of recipes and each time you must be experimenting with different ingredients to bring about a variation in taste, flavour or colour. So, next time you bake a cake, try using a healthier alternative to sugar to ensure that the sweet treat you relish is healthy too!